a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: USDAA Weekend Report

Monday, February 09, 2004

USDAA Weekend Report

So this was not one of our best agility weekends.

Out of Tika's 7 runs:
  • Two runs she didn't stay at the start line so I left the ring (an old problem from last summer that I thought was pretty much fixed)

  • Three runs she knocked bars (an existing problem that I'm working on figuring out whether it's her jumping technique or my handling technique)

  • (And one of those 3 I handled badly, too--)

  • One of her standard runs she missed the up contact on the dogwalk (an extremely persistent problem for us in USDAA and we've just started a new technique to try to get her to change her stride there)

  • Pairs relay, where neither of messed up and neither did our partner, so at least we got ONE Q for the weekend. (And a second place.)

But she did run nicely most of the time, it was just those little things haunting us... Except for the first run of the weekend (gamblers), where I let her get away with little or no wait on the contacts, she had lovely contacts. In 3 runs, she came in at me to snarf and discuss my handling (where last year she'd have grabbed my feet) but we were able to continue onward fairly quickly. Except for those 2 runs, she stayed nicely at the start line. She got all the weave entries but one (one of the snarfs), where she didn't even try but came towards me instead. And she was certainly fast.

However, on the standard course that she completed, she was 15 seconds slower than Rachel's babydog, Fable. Fifteen! That's a chasm! Of course, Fable has running contacts (and missed the *down* on the dogwalk), but I'm wondering whether I'm really losing that much time to Tika slowing on the contact descents and in the pause at the bottom. I didn't tape that run, so I can't time those bits.

Out of Jake's 5 runs:
  • one nice standard run for a Q and a first place

  • 4 runs where an ongoing, and getting worse, problem in communication really hosed us. (We've been discussing in class whether he's losing his hearing; we're now wondering whether maybe he's losing some vision rather than (or in addition to?) his hearing-- it's been very odd...)

Weather was cold with an icy wind on Saturday; cold Sunday morning with frost on the equipment (in at least one ring they poured hot water over the ramps to melt it) but warmed up nicely Sunday afternoon.

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